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|CBA Coverage: NHL offers "counter proposal" on Tuesday|
|Written by Denis Gorman|
|Wednesday, 29 August 2012 10:23|
The NHL and the NHLPA went back to the negotiating table on Tuesday, with the NHL making a counter proposal to the NHLPA. While it appears that the two sides are coming closer together, there is still significant ground to make up.
With the prospects of a lockout growing increasing substantially, the NHL made what Commissioner Gary Bettman called a “counter proposal” to the NHLPA during the first of two half-hour CBA negotiating sessions at the league’s New York City offices Tuesday.The NHLPA reviewed the league’s offer for two-and-a-half hours before returning. NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said that the league’s offer “is a proposal we intend to respond to.”
The league and the players will meet Wednesday in New York.
Both sides were guarded about the proposal’s details as has been the case throughout the CBA talks. Bettman stated the offer “was significant and had meaningful movement.” He added that revenue sharing was not part of the proposal because “we’re not that far apart. We’ve offered to expand revenue sharing.”
The players had presented its vision for a new CBA in a negotiating session in the NHLPA’s Toronto offices two weeks ago. The outline of the proposal had the players accepting rollbacks of two, four and six percent in the first three years of the CBA before having the choice to accept 54-57 percent of hockey-related revenues.
In the last year of the current system, players received 57 percent of HRR.
At the time Fehr told reporters that the players were surrendering $465 million in revenue should the league’s overall revenues continue to grow as they have in the seven seasons following the 2004-05 lockout, and added that the number could reach as high as $800 million. Their plan also called for expanded revenue sharing.
The NHLPA’s proposal was in response to the league’s initial proposal in July that proposed a 57-43 split of HRR with the majority of the revenues earmarked for the owners, amongst other aspects that were unpalatable for the players.
“We felt in order to move the process along, we tried to address the fundamental issues,” Bettman said Tuesday. “We’re trying to get to a common language.
“We need to get on the same page with economics.”
In a process that has been marked by a willingness to say little of substance on the record, it was Bettman who acknowledged the obvious following last Thursday’s CBA negotiating session in Toronto: This labor negotiation—like all labor negotiations—is centered on the intake of revenues and salary expenditures.
“We think we’re paying too much in salaries,” Bettman told reporters.
The salary cap is tied into revenues under the current CBA. League revenues have risen every year from $2.1 billion in 2005-06 to $3.3 billion last season and player salaries have risen with revenues accordingly. Players have questioned the rationale for such a drastic reduction in their half of the pie.
The uncertainty surrounding the CBA has forced the cancellation of the annual Traverse City prospects tournament, and caused Calgary Flames executives to design a strategy in which up to 175 full-time employees could have their pay cut or be forced to take unpaid leave if there is a work stoppage. Bettman has said that if a new CBA is not in place by Sept. 15, the league will lock the players out.
“We have a contingency plan in place -- it would be stupid of us not to,” Flames President Ken King told Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis last week. “What we would attempt to do is affect as few people as possible and as minimally as possible. The plan is quite generous in that some people it won't affect at all.
“In the event there are events that don't take place, those part-timers will have less hours. Some full-time people won't be affected at all as their assignments are such they can be redeployed or still be productive and remain useful for themselves and us. We have given (employees) a heads-up and we have refined the plan and will communicate it soon. It will be different for every pay level and job description. It's not the best situation, but few, if any, will say it's unfair when it's unveiled. It's a full-on fairness approach from our standpoint.”
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Photos by Getty Images
|Last Updated on Friday, 31 August 2012 00:09|